Manacor was one of the town halls to call off next month's Sant Antoni fiestas. | Teresa Ayuga

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There was a last-minute rush to the shops to buy that "special" Christmas gift - a pack of masks, stamped Gobierno de España, with a design of snowy landscapes and Pedro Sánchez wearing a Santa hat.

Outdoor mask-wearing was back, it never actually having gone away. Since the end of June, and in theory, masks had still been required in situations where one and a half metres safe distancing could not be ensured. A largely useless rule was thus replaced by another - according to those who objected, until they appreciated that a mask for Christmas keeps your face nice and warm when the north wind blows.

The PM had called a "crisis" meeting of regional presidents. Omicron was sweeping the nation, and the government concluded that masks outdoors were the solution. The regions weren't so sure. Catalonia reintroduced a curfew and recommended there should be one for the whole country; Galicia was all for cancelling the Kings.

The Balearics hadn't wanted Pedro to impose new restrictions, which he didn't (mask extension notwithstanding), and then immediately mandated a Covid passport requirement for all bars and restaurants regardless of capacity. With the January fiestas looming, chestnuts or anything else being roasted on the open fire of a barbecue were banned.

Town halls were meanwhile scrapping fiestas completely. First Arta, then Capdepera, Manacor and Son Servera all called off next month's Sant Antoni. Pollensa said no to what in any event is something of a health and safety hazard, the climbing of the pine of Ternelles.

One of the presidents taking part in the crisis meeting had to do so from home. Francina Armengol caught Covid, but this didn't dim her wish to invite all citizens to enjoy Christmas. Sensibly. Unfortunately for the president, a mere suggestion of enjoyment conjures up images of a gin and tonic and after-hours drinking (allegedly).

"Record" numbers of daily cases were making the headlines on pretty much a daily basis and will doubtless continue to. However, and as the PM and health experts were noting, Omicron seems mild by comparison with Delta.

The daily positives tended to obscure what was occurring on the wards. While ward numbers had "soared" (by five times in a month), they then came down - from 232 in Mallorca on Monday to 198 by Friday. In intensive care, though, numbers were edging up in the Balearics as a whole, albeit the number in Mallorca was the same on Friday (45) as it had been on Monday. Health service overload was more apparent in primary care, which in Mallorca by Friday was monitoring 2,123 more people than it had been on Monday.

The Spanish government set targets for booster jabs and drafted in military health personnel to assist. The call to get vaccinated was not going unheeded. In the Balearics, 7,475 more people had received at least one dose by Friday than on Monday.

Germany declared the whole of Spain, including the Balearics therefore, a high risk for Covid. This didn't constitute a travel ban, but it nevertheless provoked tourism industry concern about bookings. Hoteliers in Mallorca were suggesting that reservations will be on hold until April and that there will be an increase in last-minute sales, a state of affairs that the hoteliers president, Maria Frontera, indicated was becoming the norm anyway.

The Balearic tourism minister, Iago Negueruela, had a more immediate and pressing concern, which was gaining agreement on cruise ship numbers in Palma before the end of the year. He thus went off to Hamburg to meet representatives of the sector and announced an "historic" agreement to limit numbers, which the anti-mega cruise ship lobby reckoned was nothing of the sort.

A slight issue then emerged, one that everyone, the minister in particular, was well aware of. It is the Balearic Ports Authority, representative of the State Ports, which has the say-so regarding ship scheduling and not the Balearic government.